Saturday, May 07, 2016

246.1 - Good News: Connecticut controls guns

Good News: Connecticut controls guns

We start the week with a bit of Good News, which is that despite the irrational fear the letters "N-R-A" can provoke in timorous legislators more concerned with their sinecures than the lives of their constituents and the Wild West gun-slinging fantasies and the historical ignorance of a majority of the Supreme Court, some places here and there still manage to find ways to limit the damage caused by guns.

This time, the place is Connecticut. Under current law, if a victim of domestic violence gets a permanent restraining order against their abuser, that abuser is banned from possessing firearms. But that process can take several weeks, during which time the victim's life could be in danger.

Under a bill just passed with the support of Gov. Dannel Malloy, even those who are subject to a temporary restraining order are not allowed to possess a gun; in fact if they own one they are required to surrender it to police within 24 hours.

As Gov. Malloy noted, "Women in abusive relationships are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm." With the passage of this bill, that several-week long open window between issuance of a temporary and a permanent restraining order will be closed, potentially saving a good number of lives: Between 2000 through 2012, Connecticut averaged 14 intimate partner homicides per year, and firearms were the most commonly used weapons.

This is not the first time Connecticut has strengthened its gun laws since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Perhaps it is a case of familiarity - familiarity with the effect of guns - breeding contempt.

And in this case, contempt is Good News.

Oh, and a quick footnote, Connecticut's two senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, are pursuing a federal-level version of this same legislation.

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